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Cope-Evans Family papers

Identifier: HC.MC-1242

Scope and Contents

The Cope-Evans papers cover the years 1683 to 2012, and are divided into four series: Personal and Family papers, Business papers, J. Morris Evans research materials, and Miscellaneous.

The Personal and Family papers series contains correspondence, journals and diaries, financial information, poetry, travel accounts, and writings from numerous members of the Cope and Evans families. It is arranged in alphabetical order by the name of the author with sections at the end for general biographical and genealogical information and family photographs. Major figures represented include Annette Cope, Caroline Cope, Elizabeth Stewardson Cope, Thomas Pim Cope, Anne Tall Evans, J. Morris Evans, Francis A. Evans, and Rachel C. Evans, while secondary figures include Alfred Cope, Clementine Cope, Francis R. Cope, Henry Cope, Margaret Cope, Mary Drinker Cope, Rachel Cope, William D. Cope, Arthur Evans, Jonathan Evans, Ernest M. Evans, Harold Evans, Silvia Evans, and William Evans.

Of particular interest are an 1825 account by Alfred Cope of his trip to Harrisburg with Thomas Pim Cope to attend a canal convention; the diaries of Annette Cope, which includes accounts of time in Europe as well as religious reflections and daily life with family and friends; memoirs by both Elizabeth Stewardson Cope and Margaret Cope; an 1813 account by Francis Cope of a trip to Harper’s Ferry; a letterbook of correspondence between Thomas Pim Cope and William Drinker; an undated manuscript by Thomas Pim Cope which records travel, news from Europe, and his civil and philanthropic concerns; and letters of J. Morris and Anne Tall Evans, recounting family life and travel. Overall, these papers present a full, rich picture of the daily lives and concerns of members of a prominent Philadelphia-area Quaker family in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Real Estate, Shipping, and Other Businesses make up the Business papers series. The Real Estate section is arranged by location of the property and then chronologically. It includes deeds, indentures, leases, and financial information. The Shipping section contains materials related to the Cope shipping interests, including individual ships, correspondence, and images of the ships. The Other Businesses section deals with business other than the shipping concerns, including business papers of Thomas P. Cope, Cope Brothers, the Pennsylvania Canal and Railroad, and a variety of business correspondence.

Of particular interest are the papers relating to property at Walnut, Water, and Chestnut streets, which trace that history from 1683 to 1906; materials relating to the Cope estate Awbury; a deed acknowledging Thomas Pim Cope’s contribution to the Pennsylvania Hospital; the 1830s to 1890s diary of Captain Julius, captain of the ship Tonawanda; letters, bills, and inventories documenting the voyages of a number of Cope ships, mostly traveling between Philadelphia and Liverpool; papers detailing the transfer of Thomas Pim Cope’s business to his sons; papers related to a legal case involving the company Cox and Whitehead; guidelines for the Pennsylvania Railroad Engineer Corps; correspondence about the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal; and correspondence between various Copes and Pinkerton’s National Detective Agency.

The J. Morris Evans research materials series contains the historical research of J. Morris Evans on the Cope and Evans families, including his research-related correspondence, papers relating to his biography of Thomas P. Cope, a compilation of Thomas P. Cope’s essays, his research materials, his research notes, and a miscellaneous section. These materials document Evans’s life-long interest in the history of the Cope-Evans family, especially Thomas Pim Cope and the Cope Shipping business, and his preservation of family materials. Of particular interest are correspondence with other scholars, including John Killick; correspondence with other family members discussing genealogy and historical information; pamphlets, articles, and other publications used in Evans’s research; and research and information about many of the Cope and Evans family members represented in this collection.

The small final series in the collection contains miscellaneous papers spanning the 20th century. Noteworthy items include an address made by Haverford President Isaac Sharpless to students in 1906 and the program from a Haverford alumni dinner in 1913. Another noteworthy item is a fabric map of the city of Paris.


  • Creation: 1683-2012


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Standard Federal Copyright Law Applies (U.S. Title 17).

Biographical / Historical

The Cope and Evans families were two prominent Philadelphia Quaker families. The Cope family made their fortune in a shipping line from Liverpool to Philadelphia. Thomas P. Cope, who started the family business, left it to his sons. One son, Henry, built a family estate in Germantown, Philadelphia called “Awbury,” where subsequent generations of the family lived. The Cope family intermarried with the Evans family in 1873, when Jonathan Evans and Rachel Cope married.

The Copes made their fortune in shipping, developing a packet ship line from Philadelphia to Liverpool, England. The shipping line, in its heyday running constant service between the cities, generated large amounts of income. The business passed from Thomas P. Cope to his sons Alfred and Henry, but the loss of several ships irreparably damaged the business. Due to the development of steamships and faster modes of transport, the 1870s saw the end of the shipping line, which had lasted many decades and was an important Philadelphia business.

Thomas Pim Cope (1768-1854) was born in 1768, the son of Caleb Cope and Mary Mendenhall. After apprenticing with his uncle, Thomas Mendenhall, he went into business with him as Mendenhall & Cope. After four years, he started his own business, and then went into partnership with his brothers, Israel and Jasper. He bought his first ship in 1806, and amassed a large fleet in subsequent years. Thomas was a representative in the Pennsylvania Legislature, helped plan Philadelphia’s first public water supply, and helped found the Mercantile Library Company, Haverford College, the Delaware and Chesapeake Canal, and the Pennsylvania Railroad. With his son Alfred, he spearheaded the creation of Fairmount Park. Thomas married Mary Drinker in 1792, and after her death he married Elizabeth Waln Stokes in 1829. Thomas and Mary had seven children, one of whom died in infancy in 1796 and another that died as a young man after drowning off Cape May. His sons, Alfred and Henry, took over his business upon his retirement. Thomas P. Cope was a prominent Philadelphia Quaker, and with his business skills and moral integrity he was an important member of the greater Philadelphia community.

Alfred Cope (1806-1875) was the youngest son of Thomas P. Cope. He attended the Friends Boarding School in Plymouth, Pennsylvania. Alfred entered into the family shipping business along with his brother Henry, and the two took over the business in 1829, when it was renamed H. & A. Cope. He married Hannah Edge in 1839, and they had three children. Hannah died in 1843, and Alfred married Rebecca Biddle in 1851, with whom he had one son. He was involved in establishing a Zoological Garden, later the Philadelphia Zoo, and oversaw the building of a library near the Germantown Friends School, among various other philanthropic interests.

William Drinker Cope (1798-1873) was the son of Thomas P. Cope and Mary Drinker Cope. In 1818, William’s brother Francis drowned while the two were swimming while on vacation in Cape May. He attended the Westtown School. In 1834, William married Susan Newbold and the couple had six children: Edgar, Caroline, Annette, Clementine, Alexis, and Eleanor. Although his brothers Henry and Alfred entered into the family’s shipping business, William did not. William settled in Woodbourne, established a farm, and looked after the family’s real estate holdings as well as dealing with various family financial matters. William oversaw the 25,000 acres that Thomas P. Cope had been deeded near Woodbourne, in Dimock, Pennsylvania. Although his father’s fortune was primarily left to his brothers, William built a large home in Woodbourne where his descendents lived for several generations.

Henry Cope (1793-1865) was the eldest son of Thomas P. Cope and Mary Drinker Cope. He attended Westtown School and began work in the family’s shipping business in 1808. He became a partner with his father in 1817 and the business was renamed Thomas P. Cope & Son. He married Rachel Reeve in 1818, and, with his brother Alfred, took over the family business in 1829. It was renamed H. & A. Cope. Henry went on to help found the Haverford School, and later Haverford College, and was involved in numerous civic and philanthropic projects, and founded the family estate in Awbury.

Francis Reeve Cope (1821-1909) was the eldest son of Henry and Rachel Cope. He attended Haverford College from 1835 to 1838, but left due to ill health. He married Anna Stewardson Brown Cope in 1847, and the couple had nine children. A merchant, he was a member of the Board of Managers of Friends Asylum (now Friends Hospital) in Philadelphia from 1865 to 1904. Francis was a stockholder of the Lehigh Valley Coal and Navigation Company, director of the Lehigh Valley Railroad and of the Insurance Company of North America, and managed the financial affairs of many of his family members. He served on the boards of Haverford College and Bryn Mawr College. Francis also oversaw the William Penn Charter School for 33 years. Although he suffered from blindness in his later years, he was an active member of the community until his death in 1909.

Elizabeth Stewardson Cope (1848-1937) was the eldest child of Francis Reeve Cope and Anna Stewardson Brown. Raised in Philadelphia and Germantown, she married her cousin, Alexis T. Cope, in 1875. Elizabeth and Alexis had four children, twins William Cope and Francis R. Cope Jr., Eleanor Tyson Cope, and Agnes Cope, but their son William died in infancy in 1879. The family built a home in Awbury in 1882, but only a short time later Elizabeth’s husband died of typhoid. After being widowed and losing her eldest daughter Agnes in 1899, Elizabeth spent much of the rest of her life in her home of Woodbourne in Dimock, Pennsylvania, frequently returning to the family estate in Awbury during the winter months. Throughout her life she was particularly close to her sister Rachel Cope Evans, affectionately called “Chellie” in their letters, and her three sisters-in-law Clementine, Annette, and Caroline Cope. Elizabeth occupied her time by hosting her children and other family members, writing letters, and later in life by visiting her young grandchildren.

Rachel Cope Evans (1850-1939) was the second child of Francis Reeve Cope and Anna Stewardson Brown. She, like her siblings, was raised in Philadelphia and Germantown, taking frequent trips to Newport and other vacation spots in New England. During her lifetime, Rachel was very close to her sister Elizabeth, whom she called Lillie. She married Jonathan Evans in 1873; they had five children: Francis Algernon, Anna, Ernest, Harold, and Edward Evans. Rachel spent much of her time vacationing, and in the winter lived with the extended Cope family at Awbury.

Annette Cope (1843-1916) was the daughter of William Drinker Cope and Susan Newbold. Like her sisters, Clementine and Caroline, she spent much of her life traveling around Europe, visiting family members, and giving back to the community.

Clementine Cope (1835-1903), the daughter of William Drinker Cope and Susan Newbold, was born in 1835. She became a teacher at the Freedmen’s Relief Association School in Baltimore in 1865, and like her two sisters, Annette and Caroline, she never married. She was an active participant in social reform movements, particularly in education for formerly enslaved people for much of her life. Clementine died in 1903.

Caroline Elizabeth Cope (1840-1944) was born in 1840 in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania. She attended the Westtown Friends Boarding School. Caroline had a life-long passion for art and parks, and played a key role in creating the Awbury Arboretum. Caroline also played a major role in establishing a county library in Susquehanna County. She spent much of her life visiting foreign countries including England, France, Germany, Holland, and Italy. Although she never married and had no children, Caroline was close to many members of her family, including her sisters Annette and Clementine, her sister-in-law Elizabeth S. Cope, and her cousin Rachel C. Evans. Caroline died in 1944 at the age of 104.

Francis Algernon Evans (1878-1946) was the eldest son of Rachel Cope Evans and Jonathan Evans. He was particularly close to his cousin Francis R. Cope Jr. throughout his life. Francis Algernon, or “Algie,” as he was known to some of his family, was born in Germantown, Philadelphia in 1878. He was a student at Germantown Friends’ School and graduated from Haverford College in 1899. He married Anna Rhoads Elkinton in 1915 and the couple had four sons. Algie worked for the Girard Trust Company from 1899 to 1917, and in 1917 and 1918 he served as the Assistant Secretary of the American Friends Service Committee. He went on to work for the Philadelphia Quartz Company, which was founded by his wife’s ancestor Joseph Elkinton. In 1931, he was elected Vice-President of the Philadelphia Quartz Company and continued to work at the company until he suffered a stroke in 1943. Francis Algernon died in 1946 at Awbury.

Anna Rhoads Elkinton Evans (1889-1982) attended the Friends Select School and then the Westtown School, and was a member of several athletic teams during her time there. She married Francis Algernon Evans in 1915 and the couple had four sons. Anna came from a wealthy Philadelphia family, and her husband Francis Algernon Evans joined the Elkinton business, the Philadelphia Quartz Company. Anna died in 1982.

Joseph Morris Evans (1921-), also called Morrie Evans, was born in 1921 to Anna Rhoads Elkinton and Francis Algernon Evans. He attended Germantown Friends School where he met his eventual wife, Anne Tall Evans. Morrie graduated from Haverford College in 1943, and married Anne in 1944. The couple lived on a farm in Connecticut for several years so that Morrie, a pacifist, could fulfill his alternate service requirement in lieu of serving in World War II. Anne and Morrie eventually settled in Pennsylvania and had five children. Morrie spent many years working for the Philadelphia Quartz Company, a business founded by his mother’s family, becoming Vice President and Treasurer. He served on the Haverford College Board of Managers, and has conducted a large amount of research into his family’s history. He lives in Gwynedd, Pennsylvania.

Anne Tall Evans (1921-2012), born Dorothy Anne Tall, was born at Germantown Hospital in Philadelphia in 1921. Her parents were George W. Tall Jr. and Edith Beck Tall. She attended the Greene Street Friends School, Germantown Friends School, and Vassar College. Anne married Joseph Morris Evans in 1944, and the couple had five children, Joseph Morris Jr., Walter, Wendy, Laura, and Peter Evans. Anne passed away in 2012 in Germantown, Philadelphia.


7.5 linear ft. (18 boxes)

Language of Materials



The Cope-Evans papers cover the years 1683 to 2012, and detail the history of the inter-related Cope and Evans families, important Philadelphia-area Quakers. The papers are divided into four series: Personal and Family papers, Business papers, J. Morris Evans papers, and Miscellaneous.


The Cope-Evans Family papers were donated to Special Collections, Haverford College in April, 2015 by J. Morris Evans.

Related Materials

  • HC.MC.1170, Cope-Evans family papers
  • HC.MC.1013, Thomas P. Cope family papers
  • HC.MC.1230, Woodbourne Orchards and Family of Francis R. Cope, Jr.
  • Collection 1486, Cope Family papers, Historical Society of Pennsylvania
These papers are best used in conjunction with the previous donation of J. Morris Evans, MC 1170, which contains materials of many of the same people represented in this collection.

Processing Information

Processed by Sarah Roth; completed July, 2015.

Cope-Evans Family papers, 1683-2012
Sarah Roth
July, 2015
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Find It at the Library

Most of the materials in this catalog are not digitized and can only be accessed in person. Please see our website for more information about visiting or requesting repoductions from Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections Library

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